A double-take – perhaps even a triple-take – may be in order when you first set eyes upon the late nineteenth century façade of the Templeton Building, or Templeton On The Green to give it its full name. Even were this mindboggling grand red brick structure (which was modelled on Doge’s Palace in Venice) not situated in a fairly barren pocket of east central Glasgow, nor marred by an ugly modern extension, it would still look almost as if it had been beamed from another dimension.
As well as being worth visiting purely to gawp at the exterior, the Templeton since 2006 has also boasted a worthy tenant in WEST – a Bavarian-style microbrewery and beer hall/restaurant. The big beer garden you pass through upon entry – and Glasgow doesn’t have many of those – is but one among many attributes that has made this place hugely popular, and seen their product become a major success story both locally and nationally.
WEST brews, which are made in accordance with German purity law, are now found commonly in bars, off-licences and supermarkets nationwide, and are a cut above many other German-style beers. Variants include the St Mungo lager and special seasonal editions such as the hazy golden lager Wild West.
The food, drawing on both traditional Bavarian and Scottish cuisine, is just as good. Be it the Bayrischer wurtsalat starter – a cold salad of garlic sausage, gherkin and onion served with rye bread, which tastes better than it looks – to main courses such as Jäeger schnitzel, Bavarian cheese spätzle or good old burgers and haddock and chips. When night falls, and the huge tables are lit by elaborate-looking candelabras and the sound of conversation and glasses being clinked fills the air, this place has all the authentic atmosphere of a Munich beer hall.